Jason Barton

Professional Information and Energy News

Archive for the ‘trade liberalization’ tag

Should China Award Subsidies to US Clean Energy Firms?

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One way for us to boost domestic clean energy production is to enact protectionism that excludes foreign firms from receiving U.S. government grants, as was discussed in a post earlier this year. Another way is to urge others, namely China, to open their economies further so that U.S. firms can earn Chinese government grants.

US wants China to reciprocate green energy subsidies

(AFP) – Nov 15, 2010

SHANGHAI — US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday China should allow foreign companies to qualify for its subsidies aimed at encouraging renewable energy projects.

Chu said foreign firms, including Chinese companies, qualify for US clean energy subsidies but barriers, such as Beijing’s local content requirements, exclude US companies from receiving government help in China.

“The United State recognises the right of China to give subsidies just as we use subsidies… but in the United States, we make a point of including all industries,” Chu told reporters on a visit to Shanghai.

“We would ask China to consider the same reciprocity, namely if a foreign company wants to come to China to set up manufacturing and production that it would be open to the same kind of help,” he said.

Read the entire article here.

U.S. and Brazil Reach Agreement on Cotton Dispute

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There are two important relationships that I see between this decision and biofuels:

1. Brazil’s push for the U.S. to increase trade liberalization by reducing subsidies to cotton growers is similar to their push for the U.S. to lower its tariffs on imported ethanol. Brazil recently eliminated their own tariff on ethanol, and made it clear this was in part an effort to force us to do the same.

2. If people claim that diverting land from food to fuel is causing deforestation and driving up food prices (known as indirect land use changes, or ILUCs), why don’t we hear the same complaints about using agricultural land for fiber? The complaints may be valid, but it’s interesting that they aren’t applied to cotton. Cotton is certainly important, I’m wearing clothes right now, but transportation fuel is also important, so why the double standard?

The intellectual property rights discussed later in the article are another interesting matter, but that’s a whole other story.

Published: April 6, 2010
WASHINGTON — The United States and Brazil have reached an agreement aimed at settling a long-standing trade dispute over American subsidies to cotton growers, officials in both countries said Tuesday.

The announcement came one day before Brazil was to begin imposing up to $830 million in sanctions with authorization from the World Trade Organization. The trade body had ruled last August that American subsidies to cotton growers had violated global trade rules.


Brazil had threatened, for example, to stop charging its farmers technology fees for seeds developed by American biotechnology companies and to break American pharmaceutical patents before their scheduled expiration. Those retaliatory actions would have cost American businesses up to $239 million.

“Traditionally, retaliation in trade has been the preserve of the largest developed countries, which have market power,” said Robert Z. Lawrence, a professor of international trade and finance at the Harvard Kennedy School. “But this mechanism — suspending intellectual property protection — gives smaller, developing countries a way to enforce their rights under trade rules.”

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 6th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Fruitful Decade for Many in the World

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There are countless convincing arguments on the many sides of the trade liberalization debate that’s continued in Mr. Cowen’s article. I’ll avoid that debate in this post and focus on Brazil’s remarkable ascendancy over the past decade and a half. Some may argue this is the result of Brazil opening their markets. Others will point to the numerous, effective social programs instituted under Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil’s president from 1994-2002, and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, the president since then.  Either way, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have earned a fantastic job and lived in this amazing country for four years. Not only is knowing Brazil and its people a privilege in and of itself, the opportunities to participate in some way in this country’s activities is simply fascinating.

Published: January 2, 2010

IT may not feel that way right now, but the last 10 years may go down in world history as a big success. That idea may be hard to accept in the United States. After all, it was the decade of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the financial crisis, all dramatic and painful events. But in economic terms, at least, the decade was a remarkably good one for many people around the globe.

Photo by David G. Klein

The raging economic growth rates of China and India are well known, though their rise is part of a broader trend in the economic development of poorer countries. Ideals of prosperity, freedom and the rule of law have probably never been more resonant globally than they’ve been over the last 10 years, even if practice often falls short. And for all of the anticapitalistic rhetoric that has emerged from the financial crisis, national leaders around the world are embracing the commercialization of their economies.

Putting aside the United States, which ranks third, the four most populous countries are China, India, Indonesia and Brazil, accounting for more than 40 percent of the world’s people. And all four have made great strides. Indonesia had solid economic growth during the entire decade, mostly in the 5 to 6 percent annual range. That came after its very turbulent 1990s, marked by a disastrous financial crisis and plummeting standards of living.

Brazil also had a consistently good decade, with growth at times exceeding 5 percent a year. There is lots of talk that the country has finally turned the corner, and, within its borders, there is major worry that its currency is too strong — a problem that many other countries would envy.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 2nd, 2010 at 1:48 pm